what it is
Art therapy combines the creative process and psychotherapy, facilitating self-exploration and understanding. Using imagery, colour and shape as part of this creative therapeutic process, thoughts and feelings can be expressed that would otherwise be difficult to articulate.
- Canadian Art Therapy Association
who it's for
Anyone can engage in art therapy.
Engaging in art therapy does not require technical skill or previous art experience/training. The focus is not on the quality of the art – you don’t have to create intricate paintings or profound sculptures (although you’re welcome to do that!) It can be as simple as choosing an object (e.g. a piece of string) to symbolize a feeling, and taking time to attend to how it feels and what you’d like to do with it. The focus is on what the process and piece mean to you.
when we use it
You choose if and when you would like to use the art materials in therapy. In session, I invite clients to use art materials when I think it could be therapeutically beneficial and I welcome clients to let me know when they feel like making art. Typically after the art activity is complete, we will take some time to reflect on the process and/or the art.
what it's for
Art Therapy can be used for a variety of issues. It is particularly useful for exploring issues that are difficult to talk about or that induce overwhelming emotional distress. Creating art in a safe space with support from a professional therapist can have a regulating effect, helping to release stress and process emotions at a pace that works for you.
I often incorporate art therapy for clients who experience overwhelming emotions and anxiety, and to alleviate post-traumatic stress symptoms.
how it's used
Art therapy may be used as a primary or secondary modality in therapy to explore and resolve issues and to express yourself.
It can also be a great way to have fun. Therapy can be a lot of work and creating something in session can be relaxing, enjoyable, and therapeutic in itself. As a trained art therapist, I will support you in this process.
why art therapy?
It can be helpful to incorporate art making into therapy sessions to promote creativity, express thoughts and emotions, and regulate emotions. Art making can also be used to explore and process issues that are difficult to verbalize.
Learn more on the Canadian Art Therapy Association's website.
what is a professional art therapist?
A Professional Art Therapist is someone who has been formally trained to use art therapy as a therapeutic approach to assessment and intervention and who maintains active membership with the Canadian Art Therapy Association. In order to call myself a Professional Art Therapist, I had to complete a 3 year Master’s Degree and a 2 year Advanced Diploma in Art Therapy, which included over 900 hours of practical experience, 2000 hours of coursework, and 60 hours of supervision.